NASA’s CAPSTONE Spacecraft Pulls Off First Targeting Maneuver on Journey to the Moon
By Space Coast Daily // July 8, 2022
(NASA) – NASA’s CAPSTONE successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver, which started at 11:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.
This is the first in a series of thruster burns over the next few months to more accurately target CAPSTONE’s transfer orbit to the Moon.
The maneuver lasted just over 11 minutes and changed the spacecraft’s velocity by about 45 miles per hour (about 20 meters per second). CAPSTONE’s next trajectory correction maneuver is targeted for Saturday, July 9.
CAPSTONE is now about 289,000 miles from Earth, beyond the orbit of the Moon. CAPSTONE will loop back around and arrive to its lunar orbit – called a near rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO – Nov. 13. CAPSTONE will fly in the NRHO for at least six months to study the dynamics of the orbit, which is the same one intended for Gateway, a lunar space station for science and human exploration under Artemis.
Two technology demonstrations on CAPSTONE could allow future spacecraft to navigate near the Moon without as much tracking required from Earth.